We ended up spending eight nights moochdocking at Donna’s parents’ place, west of Old Bennington, Vermont. I haven’t posted in a week – this was one of the rare places where we had trouble getting a good internet connection or phone service with Verizon. I could take my laptop into the house and use Duke and Lorraine’s wifi, but it was awkward and I wasn’t very motivated to post.
Donna spent a lot of time doing yardwork. She spread mulch that was piled under a tree in the yard to create a plot about 12 feet by 20 feet. She also did a lot of weeding and learned to operate a weedwacker! The weedwacking would have kicked my allergies into high gear.
The highlight of the week was a trip for brew and dinner at Brown’s Brewing Walloomsac Taproom. This is located in Hoosick Falls, New York where Donna attended high school. Bennington, Vermont is less than 10 miles from the New York state line. The taproom and brewery is in an old building on the banks of the Walloomsac River.
The brick building was originally built in 1854 and housed a papermill making wallpaper. In 1943, the site was purchased by the White-Flomatic Corporation and was a factory for the valves they made.
In 2006, Gary Brown bought the place with the intent of converting it to a brewery and taproom – an expansion of his operation in Troy, New York. The renovation took some time and the brewery and taproom finally opened in 2013.
We had a couple of cold ones and dinner with a view of the Walloomsac.
While we were dry camped, our Verizon Jetpack was giving us trouble. It was shutting itself off randomly. Sometimes it would shut off only a few seconds after booting up; other times it would work fine for an hour or so before shutting down. We’ve had it for more than five years.
On Thursday morning, Donna and I had breakfast at a diner in Bennington called The Blue Benn – excellent breakfast menu! Then we hit the Verizon store in town. Our old 291L Jetpack needed to be replaced. I upgraded to the 6620L. Five years is a long time for wireless technology. After we returned to the coach, we were surprised to find a 4G connection with the new Jetpack. The improvements in antennas and signal boosting made all the difference in the world.
Donna’s sister Sheila and Sheila’s son Connor flew in from California in the afternoon. Duke drove to Albany, New York and picked them up. We had a late dinner together.
This morning we were packed and ready to go early. We said our goodbyes and pulled out a little before 9am. We took the scenic route out of Bennington, knowing it would make for a long day. Our route took us south on Route 7 into Massachusetts. The speed limits in Massachusetts keep you on your toes. The speed limit on Route 7 would change – it seemed like every mile or so – without warning or reason. One section might have a speed limit of 45 mph, then suddenly it’s 35 mph. Then it might go up to 50 mph only to drop to 40 mph without any notification of a reduction ahead. You need to keep an eye out for speed limit signs. In Great Barrington, we picked up Route 23 west and headed toward Catskill, New York. We planned to take 9W south to US209, but I made in a mistake in the route plan. We weren’t using our GPS – I planned the route the old-fashioned way with a map.
9W had a sign saying vehicles over 12 feet tall needed to stay on Route 23. There was a low clearance in West Camp. I usually rely on our RV specific GPS for routing for this reason. It has our vehicle parameters programmed in and wouldn’t route us along a road with clearance or weight limits that we exceed. Donna did some navigation on the fly and we made our way back to 9W south of West Camp and all was good. The only problem with the re-route came when we had to go through the village of Saugerties. We had to go through town on very narrow roads – I squeezed through at one point with a parked car inches off our right and oncoming traffic inches away on the left.
We hit US209 and thought we were home-free. But then we hit another detour – the road was closed for construction! We got back on track after traversing a couple of narrow county roads. We made a stop at Subway for lunch – it was conveniently located in a plaza with a large parking lot – and then continued south. At Port Jervis, we crossed into Pennsylvania – our fourth state for the day.
US 209 took us through the Delaware Gap National Recreation Area. We were on the west bank of the Delaware River with New Jersey just across the water. It was a long, slow slog today. Donna found free overnight parking at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center off of I-80 at exit 310. That’s where we stopped for the day. We only covered about 200 miles, but it took us seven hours!
We crossed several notable mountain ranges – the Berkshires in Massachusetts, the Catskills in New York and now we’re in the Poconos. These mountains aren’t as big as the mountains in the west, but they’re plenty steep in places.
Tomorrow we’ll head west. We plan to stop at the Cabela’s in Hamburg to dump our holding tanks and hopefully find fresh water. We’ve been dry camped for nine days. We’re just winging it and will see what tomorrow brings.